Day 6. Sprengisandur Highland Trail to the North
Continue to the north across the central highlands on the Sprengisandur route. On a fine day, the route over Sprengisandur provides a splendid trip through the magnificent interior of Iceland, with spectacular and far reaching views. The route follows roughly the ancient horse trail that linked southern and northern Iceland. It affords a good cross section of views of the interior highlands. Much of the landscape along it consists of a desert sand, gravel and wind eroded lava beds. In total it has a grandeur of its own, a haunting quality of size and emptiness, above all, the sense of space and freedom, tranquillity and grim beauty. There are some hydro electrical power stations along the route at Vatnsfell, Sigalda and at Hrauneyjar. The track goes west of lake Thorisvatn ( Ůˇrisvatn ) with an area of 70 sq km., it is the second largest lake in Iceland. The lake, on a high elevation and holding an enormous volume of water, posses a great water power potential. All around encircling the horizon are the rugged mountains of the highlands and the sparkling white ice fields, Hofsj÷kull and Vatnaj÷kull with fretted glaciers. The white of the ice fields looks incredibly vivid against the sombre background all around.. The drive follows the undulations of the land, down into defiles and to the top of high ridges that run near parallel to one another along this stretch. Just before coming to the huts at the entrance to Nřidalur valley, ford J÷kulkvÝsl, sometimes a treacherous river where due care should be observed. Near the mouth of Nřidalur, altitude795m are mountain huts, a wardens station and a campsite.Leaving Nřidalur, the track passes through a wide variety of high country scenery, rock-strewn tracts, gravely plain and patches of eroded lavas, all almost bare of vegetation. In spite of its apparent sameness the trail displays many stark but beautiful views, trackless desert, vast ice fields and near and distant mountains. The landscape is scattered with the debris of ice age glaciers and the evidence of stationary ice sheets that once occupied the plateau may be seen on all sides.The track passes Fjˇrungsvatn, a crescent shaped lake under a low mountain ridge. From a low hill, a tall cairn stands to commemorate one of the pioneering spirits of highland travel. Here is the highest elevation of the track, 826 m above sea level. This is the water divide. North of here all rivers and streams drain to the Arctic Ocean. Along the route there are occasional glimpses of Skjßlfandafljˇt, a glacial river which flows in deep bed to the east.Green moss and later grass starts to appear again to soften the starkness of the scene. The altitude drops gradually and the country assumes a more verdant appearance. In the innermost reaches of Bßrardalur the track comes to ═shˇlsvatn, a small lake between low grassy ridges. At the northern end of lake ═shˇlsvatn there is a short side fork which runs over intervening hills to an interesting low watrfall in the Skjßlfandafljˇt river around and below the waterfall Aldeyjarfoss, variously twisted and formed basalt columns. The track ends at Mřri farm, the last outpost of habitation to the north in the Bßrardalur valley. Driving north along the valley the landscape becomes progressively more fertile and more inhabited. Stop at the beautiful waterfall Goafoss, close to Fosshˇll. Continue to H˙savÝk area for overnight.
Overnight: H˙savÝk Area